Gilead and Gritstone Initiate $785 Million HIV Vaccine Collaboration

February 1, 2021
BioPharm International Editors

The vaccine will be developed using Gritstone’s proprietary prime-boost vaccine platform, which includes self-amplifying mRNA and adenoviral vectors, with antigens formulated by Gilead.

Gilead announced on Feb. 1, 2021 that it has entered into a collaboration, option, and license agreement with Gritstone Oncology, a US-based clinical-stage biotechnology company, to research and develop a vaccine-based immunotherapy for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection for up to $785 million.

Under the agreement, Gritstone will provide a $30 million upfront payment and a $30 million equity investment and will be eligible to receive up to an additional $725 million if the option is exercised and all milestones are met, Gilead said in a company press release. Gilead will be in charge of conducting a Phase I study for the vaccine and will hold an option to obtain a license to develop and commercialize the vaccine beyond Phase I.

The vaccine will be developed using Gritstone’s proprietary prime-boost vaccine platform, which includes self-amplifying messenger RNA (mRNA) (SAM) and adenoviral vectors, with antigens formulated by Gilead, according to the press release.

“While HIV treatment has advanced dramatically over the past three decades, people living with HIV still face a lifetime of therapy,” said Diana Brainard, MD, senior vice-president, Virology Therapeutic Area, Gilead Sciences, in the press release. “Curing HIV remains the ultimate aspiration for Gilead’s HIV research and development efforts. Gritstone’s vaccine technology has the potential to educate the immune system to specifically recognize and destroy HIV-infected cells by leveraging SAM and adenoviral vectors. This, along with our other partnerships and internal programs, reflects Gilead’s commitment to continuing innovation to discover a cure for HIV and bring about an end to the HIV epidemic.”

“We are excited to be partnering with Gilead, a company that has decades long experience improving care for people living with HIV, to advance a novel immunotherapy using our proprietary platform for the treatment of HIV infection,” said Andrew Allen, MD, PhD, co-founder, president, and CEO of Gritstone, in the press release. “It is well-established that CD8+ T cells are critical for the elimination of virally infected cells, and we have built a highly differentiated vaccine platform that has been shown to generate large numbers of antigen-specific T cells, including CD8+ T cells, even in advanced and immunocompromised cancer patients. On the heels of our recent COVID-19 program initiation in partnership with the NIH, this program adds to our growing infectious disease pipeline supported by collaborations with leading biopharma and renowned institutions.”

Source: Gilead